Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"L'enfer, c'est les autres."

I'm not sure what's worse - being excluded or being misunderstood. Maybe they're the same thing.

This feeling of exclusion has permeated my entire life. Maybe it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm an introvert. I generally prefer being alone (or with my boyfriend) to being with other people and I don't make friends easily. I can quickly shut down a relationship and freeze people out for reasons only known and understood by me. 

I have a peculiar sense of humour. Luckily, some people get it. Others don't. I remember cracking a joke once during an office event which I thought was quite a brilliant play on words, if somewhat inappropriate. It was met with silence and thinly-veiled looks of consternation. It was a bit of a shock to realize how conservative an audience I had. Sure, there's humour in the office, the obvious kind, but I guess there was no place for my Family Guy low-brow kind of humour. Message received.

As a woman with no children, I'm cast in a grey zone as some unfinished piece, often misunderstood. Why didn't you want to have children? You can't possibly understand until / unless you have children of your own. What's wrong with you? You must hate children. Well, I do hate some children when they have no boundaries, discipline or sense of etiquette, however, that can usually be attributed to the parents. There are other children I adore whose honesty, whimsy and spontaneous creativity I find endearing.

Familial relationships can range from incredibly meaningful to despair-inducing. A close relationship I had with one of my cousins, the closest thing to having a sister I'll probably ever have, blew spectacularly apart about a decade ago. It took a few years before we even spoke to each other again. Now, we cross paths at family events, say a few polite words and move on.

Part of me thrives on being an outsider and another part is deeply wounded by exclusion. I like not being easy to categorize and yet desperately yearn to be understood. If you're familiar with the Enneagram, I'm a classic Type 4 personality, wanting to feel different, special, unique, yet all the while wanting to fit in; an unfortunate paradox. 

It's very tempting to simply withdraw when I feel misunderstood or excluded, thus exacerbating the very circumstances causing me pain. Self-preservation wins over a balanced emotional perspective which is hard for me to find these days. My inner child is throwing tantrums, complete with irrational, egocentric demands that my adult self knows are completely ridiculous, all in the name of perpetuating some warped idea of a "successful" social persona before the very people I want to run away from.

Sartre was right. "L'enfer, c'est les autres."

Friday, May 2, 2014

When you think you're a stinking pile of shit...

The power of positive thinking. I'm trying to cling to this notion even as I feel myself slipping further and further away from it. I know from experience that this kind of stuff does work. Being clear about my intentions, creating a vision board, believing that the seemingly impossible is possible.

But then life decides to throw some curve balls. Is this to test my faith? Or bring me back to "reality"? I'd like to think it's the former. As a writer, one must get used to copious amounts of rejection but after a while, rejection takes its toll. Self-esteem plummets, leaving plenty of room for self-doubt to creep in.

What if I'm shit? What if my writing is no good? What if nothing ever comes of this? Then I remind myself that I have a production coming up next year, which is a big f*cking deal, and that I had a short play produced last fall. It received mixed reviews, which felt like a sharp arrow through my heart, although the few words mentioned about it in a major paper were positive. However, people to this day tell me that short play was one of their favorites (it was performed with nine others as part of a festival), and that it brought them to unexpected places. What more could I ask for?

All I wanted a few years ago was a production. I have one in the hopper, and now I want multiple productions. It's a trap, really, a thirst that will never be quenched if I focus solely on end results without enjoying the journey. It's like nothing can happen "fast enough". I'm so anxious to legitimize myself as a writer but I must be careful not to intertwine my self-worth with my accomplishments or perceived lack thereof.

I think I need to relax, breathe, have fun and not worry about "how" things will come about. I'm doing my part. I just need to trust the Universe a little more and stop being so impatient. I mean, really, how hard can that be?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What to do when one gets metaphorically punched in the face

As an artist, there's nothing quite like being rejected, repeatedly. And for some reason, certain rejections hurt more than others. I received what I felt was a crushing blow yesterday. Tears were shed, Advil taken, cocktails had. On the plus side, I've got some projects lined up, some things "in the hopper", as they say, so it's not a total travesty.

The Universe seemed to be on my side, ready with timely "coincidental" readings and information that crossed my path at just the right time, reminding me that perhaps it wasn't meant to be because there are even greater things waiting in the wings, and I shouldn't worry about "how" my career as a successful playwright will come about, as long as I do my bit every day, take those baby steps, follow leads, write.

I had to calm my ego down that so eagerly wants to prove itself and "be somebody" not realizing I already am somebody and have nothing to prove. Of course, that's easier said than done considering the entirety of Western society is based on competition.

It's not necessarily who can be the best, but who can be the loudest, flashiest and most popular. Truly trying to be the best at what you do, becoming a master of something is, in my opinion, a quiet art. It requires discipline, patience, perseverance and the knowledge that it may take a lifetime, and that the journey is, in fact, the destination.

I was comforted by the fact that I really could let go of worrying how to make things happen and just focus on a general end result, i.e. having a creatively fulfilling career, working with incredibly talented people, etc... instead of getting attached to specifics. My little brain can't possibly fathom the infinite possibilities the Universe has at its disposal to make my wishes manifest.

And so, I attempt to trust the unseen and assuage my bruised ego.